A study into governance legitimacy in the Lutheran church of Australia Queensland district: a mixed methods approach

Doctorate other than PhD


Vainikka, Mark. 2021. A study into governance legitimacy in the Lutheran church of Australia Queensland district: a mixed methods approach. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Professional Studies. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/q6v8x
Title

A study into governance legitimacy in the Lutheran church of Australia Queensland district: a mixed methods approach

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
Authors
AuthorVainikka, Mark
Supervisor
1. FirstProf Luke van der Laan
2. SecondDr Tim Cadman
3. ThirdRussell Briese
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Professional Studies
Number of Pages348
Year2021
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/q6v8x
Abstract

This research project is a study into the legitimacy of ecclesiastical governance related to the Lutheran Church of Australia Queensland District (LCAQD). The governance failures of ecclesiastical and not-for-profit organisations were in focus in Australia in recent years primarily through the diligent work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse launched in 2013. While research into not-for-profit governance has increased in recent years, there has been a dearth of academic literature published into governance of churches that often own and operate not-for-profits. This study is considered a timely contribution to the topic. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the quality of governance in the LCAQD as it relates to governance legitimacy.

The LCAQD serves people across Queensland through congregations and parishes and educational, aged-care, and community services. The study focuses on governance legitimacy as an indicator of governance quality and an indicator of the alignment of LCAQD's values and its governance processes and structures.

This mixed methods study is divided into three main phases. The first phase focuses on a literature review to determine the current status of research into ecclesiastical governance. The first phase includes evaluating the LCAQD from the perspective of Biomatrix Systems Theory (BST). BST assists in evaluating the governance of LCAQD from an organisational perspective. This phase also includes the introduction of what the researcher has called the Cadman Quality of Governance Model (CQGM), which is used to formulate the LCAQD Quality of Governance Survey in the project's second phase. Utilising both BST and CQGM ensures the study empirical and methodological depth and validation and breadth in evaluating the quality of interactions from a BST system-wide perspective.

The second phase involves the formulation of the LCAQD Quality of Governance Survey based on the CQGM and the interpretation of the survey data, including the utilisation of multivariate statistical techniques to establish the instrument's validity and most parsimonious structure. The research approach chosen for the project is a mixed methods study, which integrates both quantitative and qualitative data to comprehensively analyse the research problem. The research design utilised is a data validation variant of a convergent parallel design in which quantitative and qualitative data is collected simultaneously, analysed separately and subsequently triangulated and assimilated into recommendations. The third phase operationalises the previous two phases and evaluates LCAQD's governance quality from a BST and CQGM perspective, with recommendations for improving LCAQD governance processes and structures.

The study focuses on the CQGM's theory that an organisation's governance quality can be measured by quality of governance indicators under two overarching governance principles of meaningful participation and productive deliberation, which serve as functions of governance legitimacy. The study's main research question and sub-questions arise from this research aim. The main research question and sub-questions, therefore, are:
Main Research Question: How does governance quality in terms of meaningful participation and productive deliberation serve as functions of legitimacy in the LCAQD?
Sub-questions: How is meaningful participation related to governance quality in the LCAQD?
How is productive deliberation related to governance quality in the LCAQD?

The project's findings support the CQGM's theoretical premise that legitimacy is an indicator of governance quality and that meaningful participation and productive deliberation serve as functions of legitimacy in the LCAQD. In answering the research questions, the study has provided a three-fold contribution: Contribution to knowledge, professional practice and personal professional development.

Prior to this research project, no governance research existed into the LCAQD. Until this project, no research existed globally into legitimacy in ecclesiastical governance. The utilisation of BST to describe the church from an organisational perspective is also a unique contribution to the literature, as is the utilisation of the CQGM in ecclesiastical governance.

For the first time, the study also tested the statistical reliability of the CQGM, concluding that the model is statistically robust and can be meaningfully utilised in an unmodified form in the ecclesiastical governance domain. The study's limitations concentrate on the generalisability of the study's findings. This is due to the synodical nature of the LCAQD. The research findings are best applied in environments where stakeholders' participation informs the organisation's governance structures.

KeywordsGovernance, ecclesiology, legitimacy, Lutheran, synodical, church
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500501. Theology
350717. Stakeholder engagement
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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